The tiny Caribbean island of Aruba lies 27km north of the coast of Venezuela and is one of a group of islands referred to as the Leeward Antilles, also known as the ABC islands along with Bonaire and Curacao. The island is just 69 square miles in size (180 square km), 19.6 miles (30km) long and 6 miles across (9 kilometres) at the widest point.

Originally claimed by Spain in 1499 it was then taken over by the Dutch in 1636. In 1986 Aruba broke away from the Netherlands Antilles and became an independent member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1990 Aruba’s requested for full independence was rejected.

The population of Aruba is of mixed descent and is estimated at 103,000. The native language most widely used is papiamento, a unique language made up of elements of Spanish, Dutch, English, Portuguese, a number of different African languages and Arawak indian. Papiamento is only spoken on the Dutch Caribbean islands and was considered a local dialect of no significant importance until 1995. Three years later the government took the decision to officially teach it in schools as a new language subject.

Aruba enjoys a dry climate with an average year round temperature of 28 °C (82.4 °F), moderated by constant trade winds brought in from the atlantic ocean. Annual rainfall volumes rarely exceed 17 inches and most of this is seen in late autumn (October/November). It also sits outside of hurricane belt making it a popular holiday destination.

Tourism is now the main source of income for Aruba’s economy since oil refining and storage ceased in 2009. The island sees over 1.5 million tourists a year with a whopping 75% from the US, construction has increased massively to accommodate the ever increasing number of visitors

Aruba has the highest number of repeat visitors of any other island in the Caribbean, with guaranteed sunshine, beautiful beaches and friendly people it’s not hard to see why. With more on offer than just picture postcard beaches, Aruba boasts no less than 42 different dive sites, 2 professional calibre golf courses and an ATP sanctioned tennis centre.

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